Eye on Extremism: November 13, 2023

Reuters: EU Condemns Hamas For Using 'Hospitals As Human Shields', Urges Israeli Restraint

“The European Union on Sunday condemned Hamas for using "hospitals and civilians as human shields" in Gaza, while also urging Israel to show "maximum restraint" to protect civilians. Hospitals in the north of the Palestinian enclave are blockaded by Israeli forces and barely able to care for those inside, according to medical staff. Gaza's largest and second largest hospitals, Al Shifa and Al-Quds, said they were suspending operations. Israel says Hamas has placed command centres under and near hospitals and it needs to get at them to free around 200 hostages the militants took in Israel in an attack just over a month ago. Hamas has denied using hospitals in this way. "The EU condemns the use of hospitals and civilians as human shields by Hamas," European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement issued on behalf of the 27-nation bloc. "Civilians must be allowed to leave the combat zone." At the same time, he urged Israel to exercise maximum restraint, stressing the obligation under international humanitarian law to protect hospitals, medical supplies and civilians inside hospitals. "These hostilities are severely impacting hospitals and taking a horrific toll on civilians and medical staff," Borrell warned.”

Associated Press: Hezbollah Says It Is Introducing New Weapons In Ongoing Battles With Israeli Troops

“Attacks by Lebanon’s Hezbollah group Sunday wounded seven Israeli troops and 10 other people, Israel’s military and rescue services said. The clashes came as skirmishes between the Iran-backed group and Israeli military continue to intensify along the Lebanon-Israel border, threatening to escalate into another front in the Mideast’s latest war. The assault was the most serious incident involving civilians along the Lebanon-Israel border since an Israeli airstrike in south Lebanon on Nov. 5 killed a woman and three children. The Israeli army’s chief spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, said the Hezbollah attack on Israeli civilians was “very serious.” He said Israel is focused on its war in Gaza but it also remains at a “very high level of preparedness in the north” and ready to take further action. The Israeli military “has operational plans to change the security status in the north,” he told reporters. “The security status will not remain such that the civilians of the north do not feel safe returning to their homes.” The Israeli military said in a statement that “seven IDF soldiers were lightly injured as a result of the mortar shell launches in the area of Manara in northern Israel earlier today.” Israeli rescue services did not identify the location or provide information about the 10 others wounded by rocket blasts and shrapnel, but said two of them were in critical condition.”

CEP Mentions

WTOP: Crossroads Of A Crisis: The Storm No One Saw Coming

““It was a military invasion by a terrorist group and then a terrorist operation slaughtering civilians,” said Hans-Jakob Schindler, senior director with the Counter Extremism Project.Ultimately, more than 1,400 Israelis and others were butchered. More than 3,000 people were injured and more than 200 people — ranging in age from small children to 85 years old — were kidnapped. “The scenes were horrible. You wouldn’t even believe seeing the evidence,” said Aviva Raz Schechter, a senior ambassador in Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She said the images of “children with their hands tied, being burned, heads been chopped off” are impossible to get out of their heads. That massacre, which took the world’s breath away and it’s eyes off Ukraine, also threatened Ukraine’s financial support. In the coming days, after Israel responded, thousands of Palestinians inside Gaza were killed in airstrikes and a ground invasion. “There are lots of things going on around the world that we have to address, and we will,” said newly-elected House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), but he added, “right now what’s happening in Israel takes the immediate attention.””

United States

NBC: Biden Struggles To Quell Backlash In Party Over Israel’s Response To Hamas

“When Joe Biden came of age, he saw Israel as a besieged state that was a haven for a persecuted Jewish minority, a worldview that stayed with him through his 36 years in the Senate and his rise to the presidency. Biden often recalls in public speeches what former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir told him 50 years ago: “We have nowhere else to go.” Today, a faction of Biden’s party sees Israel very differently: as a military colossus run by far-right officials who’ve suppressed Palestinians and denied them basic freedoms. These dueling perceptions are the root of a fresh foreign policy crisis that is tearing at Biden’s political coalition and putting him in the awkward spot of reining in a Jewish state he has long revered. The diplomatic challenge would bedevil any president. But it may be even more excruciating for Biden, who took his children to view the Nazi death camps and who calls himself a “Zionist in my heart.” As Israeli leaders’ most important partner, Biden finds himself needing to help them defeat Hamas while limiting civilian bloodshed in crowded cities where the militants operate. He must reassure an anxious Jewish population without alienating Arab and Muslim Americans who argue that his nostalgia for Israel is outdated.”

Associated Press: Blinken Says ‘Far Too Many’ Palestinians Have Died As Israel Wages Relentless War On Hamas

“U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday that “far too many” Palestinians have died and suffered as Israel wages a relentless war against the militant Hamas group in the Gaza Strip. He urged Israel to minimize harm to civilians and maximize humanitarian assistance that reaches them. Speaking to reporters in New Delhi, Blinken said recent Israeli moves to improve dire conditions in Gaza as its military pushes deeper into the strip — including pauses in military operations to allow Palestinians to move from northern to southern Gaza and the creation of a second safe corridor — are positive but they are not nearly enough. “Much more needs to be done to protect civilians and to make sure that humanitarian assistance reaches them,” he said. “Far too many Palestinians have been killed, far too many have suffered these past weeks, and we want to do everything possible to prevent harm to them and to maximize the assistance that gets to them.” Blinken spoke as he wrapped up an intense nine-day diplomatic tour of the Middle East and Asia — his second frenetic Mideast trip since the war began with Hamas’ deadly incursion into southern Israel on Oct. 7. In Hamas-run Gaza, the Health Ministry said Friday that the Palestinian death in the coastal strip toll has surpassed 11,000 people. More than 1,400 people have been killed in Israel, mainly in the initial Hamas attack.”


Reuters: US Carries Out Air Strikes In Syria Against Iran-Linked Facilities

“The United States carried out two air strikes in Syria against Iran and its aligned groups on Sunday, the Pentagon said, in the latest response to a series of attacks against American forces in Syria and in Iraq. In a statement, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the strikes targeted a training facility near the city of Albu Kamal and a safe house near the city of Mayadeen. He said President Joe Biden ordered the strikes. "The President has no higher priority than the safety of U.S. personnel, and he directed today's action to make clear that the United States will defend itself, its personnel, and its interests," Austin said in a statement. Local sources also said the strikes targeted a camp run by pro-Iranian militias in an area west of Albu Kamal, in Deir al Zor province. The other strike was near a bridge close to the city of Mayadeen, near the Iraqi border and stronghold of pro-Iranian militias, the sources said. The strike is the third since Oct. 26 as the United States attempts to quell wave after wave of drone and rocket attacks against American troops in Syria and Iraq, triggered by the Israel-Hamas war. Iran and its supporters say the United States shares responsibility for Israel's declared war against Palestinian militant group Hamas, which is also backed by Iran.”


Reuters: Hezbollah Says Front With Israel Will Remain Active

“The head of Lebanon's powerful Hezbollah party said on Saturday that its armed wing had used new types of weapons and struck new targets in Israel, and pledged that the front against its sworn enemy would remain active. It was Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah's second speech since the war between Israel and Hamas began in October. In his first, he said there was a possibility of fighting on the Lebanese front turning into a fully-fledged war. On Saturday, in a televised address, he said Hezbollah had shown "a quantitative improvement in the number of operations, the size and the number of targets, as well as an increase in the type of weapons". He said it had used a "Burkan" missile that carries an explosive payload of 300-500 kg, as well as weaponised drones for the first time. Nasrallah said the group had also struck the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona for the first time in retaliation for an Israeli air strike that killed three girls and their grandmother this month. "This front will remain active," he pledged. Soon after, Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant told troops near the Israel-Lebanon border: "Hezbollah is dragging Lebanon into a war that might happen. "It is making mistakes and ... those who will pay the price are first and foremost Lebanon's citizens. What we are doing in Gaza we can do in Beirut.”

Middle East

ABC: 9 Americans Still Missing After Hamas Attack As Hostage Negotiations Continue: Sullivan

“The U.S. remains committed to "ongoing negotiations" for the release of hostages believed to be held by Hamas in Gaza as officials work to find nine Americans still missing in the wake of the extremist group's Oct. 7 terror attack on Israel, the White House's national security adviser said on Sunday. "There are ongoing negotiations involving the Israelis, the Qataris, and we, the United States, are actively engaged in this as well because we want to make sure that we bring home those Americans who have been taken hostage as well as all of the other hostages," Jake Sullivan told ABC "This Week" co-anchor Jonathan Karl. Pressed by Karl on the total number of hostages, Sullivan said America doesn't have a "precise number." "We know the number of missing and that's the number the Israelis have given. But we don't know how many of those are still alive," Sullivan said. "As far as the Americans are concerned, there are nine missing American citizens as well as a missing legal permanent [resident], a green card holder." Sullivan continued: "That's the number that we are trying to ensure the safe return of, and we have been engaging with the families. In fact, I will personally be seeing family members of the American hostages this coming week."”

Business Insider: The IDF Says Its 401st Brigade 'Eliminated' 150 Hamas Militants In Northern Gaza Battle

“The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) claimed that its 401st Brigade had "gained control" of key Hamas posts in northern Gaza and "eliminated" around 150 militants. In a post on X, formerly Twitter, the IDF said that the brigade's targets had included "an arms production site, launching stations," and "an underground network." The IDF said in a press release that the 401st Brigade "also operated at the Blue Beach Hotel on the coastline in the northern Gaza Strip," from which around 30 Hamas militants had "fired several anti-tank missiles at IDF forces." It claimed that the militants "used the hotel rooms as shelter and for the benefit of planning attacks above and below ground." It added that its forces had taken control of 11 military posts belonging to Hamas since it began its ground offensive. Israel's naval forces also struck Hamas infrastructure targets in northern Gaza, including in the al-Shati refugee camp, the IDF said in an update. As the conflict continues to rage around Gaza, the city's largest hospital ran out of power, putting dozens of patients at risk. The Gazan health ministry said a newborn baby had died as a result of the power outage. Civilians are continuing to flee northern Gaza to avoid being caught in the carnage, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that "we will not have a ceasefire without the hostages back home."”

Associated Press: Thousands Who Were Sheltering At Gaza City’s Hospitals Flee As Israel-Hamas War Closes In

“Thousands of Palestinians sheltering from the Israel-Hamas war at Gaza City’s main hospital fled south Friday after several reported strikes in and around the compound overnight. They joined a growing exodus of people escaping intense urban fighting in the north — including near other hospitals — as Gaza officials said the territory’s death toll surpassed 11,000. The search for safety across the besieged Gaza Strip has grown desperate as Israel intensified its assault on the territory’s largest city. The Israeli army says Hamas’ military infrastructure is based amid Gaza City’s hospitals and neighborhoods, and that it has set up its main command center in and under the largest hospital, Shifa — claims the militant group and Shifa staff deny. Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas after its deadly Oct. 7 surprise incursion, which killed at least 1,200. More than 100,000 Palestinians have fled south over the past two days, according to Israel, but they still face bombardment and dire conditions. Reported strikes on or near at least four hospitals in northern Gaza overnight underscored the danger for tens of thousands more who had crowded into the facilities, believing they would be safe. Early Friday, at least three strikes over several hours hit the courtyard and the obstetrics department of Shifa Hospital, according to Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesperson at the Health Ministry in Hamas-run Gaza.”


BBC: Translators For German UN Troops In Mali Fear Taliban-Style Fate

“The 19 interpreters wrote to the German government on 7 August asking for protection as the jihadist groups that operate in northern Mali regard those who work with the UN as traitors. "The terrorists have been openly saying that any person working for international forces is considered an enemy," a translator for the UN's German military contingent, whose name has been withheld for safety reasons, told the BBC. A few weeks after the translators sent their letter, photos appeared online of their friend Hachimi Dicko being killed by gunmen from the Islamic State (IS) group. The 32-year-old Malian had worked for a sub-contractor at Camp Castor, the base that is operated by German UN soldiers in Gao, northern Mali's most populous city. All the translators knew Mr Dicko well. He had been a laundry supervisor at the camp, working for Ecolog - although a source close to his family says when he was captured by IS gunmen in June his contract had come to an end. He had started a job as a clothing courier and had been travelling on a lorry from Niamey, the capital of neighbouring Niger, to Gao when it was ambushed. Those travelling with him say he was singled out by the gunmen because of the military-style boots he was wearing. They initially demanded a ransom. The lorry driver got in contact with the family at the militants' request.”

United Kingdom

Reuters: Three Pro-Palestinian Protesters Deny Committing Terrorism Offences At London Rally

“Three protesters appeared in a British court on Friday and pleaded not guilty to terrorism offences after displaying allegedly pro-Hamas imagery at a London demonstration. Heba Alhayek, 29, Pauline Ankunda, 26, and Noimutu Olayinka Taiwo, 27, appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court charged with displaying an article at an Oct. 14 protest which would arouse reasonable suspicion they supported Hamas, a proscribed terrorist organisation in Britain. The trio each entered not guilty pleas to one count under the Terrorism Act and will stand trial at the same court in February. Prosecutor Mark Luckett said there was a "clear and unique association between the image of a paraglider", which some Hamas fighters used in the deadly attack on Israel on Oct. 7, and the proscribed group. He added that displaying an item associated with the Hamas attacks, particularly at a pro-Palestinian demonstration, "glorifies the actions of the group by celebrating the unique, successful tactic used by them". Their appearance in court on Friday comes ahead of a planned pro-Palestinian demonstration on Saturday, the latest such protest in London since the Hamas attack on Israel last month and Israel's bombardment of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.”


Associated Press: Iranian-Born Norwegian Man Is Charged Over Deadly Oslo Pride Attack In 2022

“A Norwegian citizen originally from Iran was charged Friday with aggravated terrorism for the 2022 deadly shooting ahead of an LGBTQ festival in the nightlife district of the capital, Oslo. Two people were killed and nine seriously wounded in the shooting at three locations, chiefly outside the London Pub, a popular gay bar, on June 25, 2022. Prosecutor Sturla Henriksbø said that Zaniar Matapour, 44, fired 10 rounds with a machine gun and eight shots with a handgun into a crowd at a street corner in the nightlife district where there were a total of 560 people. Before that, he took “an oath of allegiance to the Islamic State group.” “The attack caused great fear,” Henriksbø said. One of the victims was hit by four bullets, while the other one was killed by a single shot. Matapour was arrested shortly after by bystanders and has has since been held on suspicion of being the shooter. Following the attack, a Pride parade was canceled, with the police saying they could not guarantee security. Matapour has refused to speak to investigators. Another prosecutor, Aud Kinsarvik Gravås, said four other suspects were linked to the shooting but they have not been charged as the investigation is still ongoing. Two of them are outside Norway. One of those suspected in the case is a leading Norwegian radical Islamist who is in hiding in Pakistan. The whereabouts of the other one was not known.”

Southeast Asia

Associated Press: Conservative Muslims Protest Coldplay’s Planned Concert In Indonesia Over The Band’s LGBTQ+ Support

“Dozens of conservative Muslims marched in Indonesia’s capital on Friday, calling for the cancellation of Coldplay’s upcoming concert over the British band’s support for the LGBTQ+ community. Coldplay is renowned for interlacing its values with its shows, such as the band’s push for environmental sustainability. Lead singer Chris Martin has been known to wear rainbow colors and wave gay pride flags during performances. The Asian leg of Coldplay’s “Music Of The Spheres World Tour” includes a Nov. 15 concert at Jakarta’s Gelora Bung Karno stadium. More than 70,000 tickets were scooped up in less than two hours when sales opened in May. Jakarta is one of the band’s top streaming hubs with 1.6 million fans in the city. Critics say Coldplay’s show is suggestive, and that the band’s support for the LGBTQ+ community threatens to undermine Indonesia’s moral fiber and corrupt its youth. Nearly 100 demonstrators, many holding banners and signs, filled a major thoroughfare in Jakarta after Friday prayers. The protesters — organized by Islamist group the 212 Brotherhood Alumni, whose name refers to the Dec. 2, 2016 mass protests against the polarizing Christian politician Basuki Tjahaja Purnama — chanted “God is Great” and “We reject Coldplay” as they marched to the heavily guarded British Embassy in Jakarta.”

The Times Of India: Pakistan: Three Police Personnel Killed In Terrorist Attack In Tank

“Three police personnel, including a station house officer (SHO), were killed and five others including a deputy superintendent of police sustained injuries after a terrorist attack on police in the Kari Shah Noor area of Pakistan's Tank, Pakistan-based Dawn reported. The police spokesperson said that DSP Chan Shah was leading a police party on Saturday to arrest the kidnappers of a woman in Shah Noor village when unidentified assailants opened fire on the vehicle. The police spokesperson said that attackers opened fire at the police after seeing the police team, according to Dawn's report. According to a police spokesperson, SHO Shaheed Mureed Akbar, Abdul Ali Khan, and two constables, Wahab and Mohammad Alam were killed in the attack. He further said that five police personnel, including DSP Chan Shah, constables Ishfaq, Wafaq and Hidayat of Elite Force and constables Riaz and Ikram of district Tank, were injured. He said that the injured police personnel were taken to Tank Hospital. Soon after the ambush, a heavy contingent of police, including the Quick Response Force, arrived at the crime site, Dawn reported. Dera Ismail Khan Regional Police Officer Nasir Mehmood Satti said that the police and security forces started operations against the terrorists. He said that such cowardly attacks could not demoralise the police.”


Wired: This New Tool Aims To Keep Terrorism Content Off The Internet

“Terrorist groups have found a home on smaller, less well-known online platforms in recent years where they store, share, and link to content such as violent beheading videos and recruitment propaganda. Those platforms have struggled to deal with the problem due to a lack of resources and expertise, but a new tool being built by a Google subsidiary in collaboration with a terror-tracking NGO is seeking to solve that problem. Launched in Paris on Friday, Altitude is a free tool built by Jigsaw—a unit within Google that tracks violent extremism, misinformation, and repressive censorship—and Tech Against Terrorism, a group that seeks to disrupt terrorists’ online activity. The tool aims to give smaller platforms the ability to easily and efficiently detect terrorist content on their networks and remove it. The project is also working with the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, which is an industry-led group founded in 2017 by Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube that hosts a shared database of image hashes—a kind of digital fingerprint—of terrorist content.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.


On May 8, 2019, Taliban insurgents detonated an explosive-laden vehicle and then broke into American NGO Counterpart International’s offices in Kabul. At least seven people were killed and 24 were injured.

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